6 January 2012

Salade nantaise | Eating France

I do find it funny that the most popular posts here on Ferdakost are desserts or pastries. And popular savouries are always comfort foods. With the media banging on about healthy diets and how much more conscious people are about the food they eat, it's nice to know people still enjoy comfort foods, albeit secretly. And I fully support that. You only have one life, so why not enjoy it while you can? But sometimes I feel I just need something quick and easy and fresh. Sometimes I'd like to have a light meal rather than a heavy gratin dauphinois-style dish for dinner. So, sometimes, I eat salads.

Salade nantaise is, as you probably guessed, from Nantes, in the Pays de la Loire region. This is actually quite a new region, created in the 1950s, and is made up of 20 % of historical Brittany, as well as a handful of bits and bobs of other regions. Consequently, the name of the region, ''lands of the Loire River'', is simply a geographical reference without any links to history. Confusingly enough, though, most of the famous châteaux of the Loire valley are actually not in Pays de la Loire, but in neighbouring Centre. Which is kind of bizarre. Nantes itself used to be the capital of Brittany, and I could have made something Breton to represent this region as well, like crêpes. But then again I couldn't, because I was having this salad. 

I absolutely adore this salad. Really! It's not like any salad I've ever had before. The first time I read the list of ingredients, it took me completely by surprise. Rice!?! Yes, rice! Don't get me wrong, rice is a happy ingredient, but in a salad? How very odd. The rest of the ingredients were pretty straight forward: tomatoes, cucumber, salad, vinaigrette and tuna. I do like tuna, especially cold and mixed into salads or cold pasta. Swoon! I also made a version of this salad using a particularly delicious canned ham I bought back in Brittany, which worked well as a substitute. But it wasn't quite the same as tuna. I also decided to use spinach – partly because I love it, but also because it looked so nice, green and fresh and I just couldn't resist... The original recipe asks for mâche, which I think is lamb's lettuce, but I couldn't find any. I ate lamb's lettuce almost every day when I lived in Hamburg, and it's an incredible vegetable, so I recommend using it if you can.

So why make this? Well, why not? Salade nantaise is really quick, easy and pleasing to the palate. For one person, you only have to half the recipe, and you're good to go.

Salade nantaise
Recipe by Recoins de France


300 g. lamb's lettuce
120 g. tuna
2 large tomatoes
1 cucumber
Chives, finely chopped
125 g. cooked rice, cooled

2 tbsp. oil 
1 tbsp. vinegar
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together, then stir in the vinaigrette. Serve with baguette or garlic bread. 

Salade nantaise
Oppskrift frå Recoins de France


300 g. mâchesalat (feltsalat)
120 g. tunfisk
2 store tomatar
1 agurk
Graslauk, finhakka
125 g. kokt ris, kolna

2 ms. olje
1 ms. eddik
3 ts. Dijonsennep
Salt and pepar

Bland saman ingrediensane. Hell i vinaigretten og bland. Server med baguette eller kvitlauksbrød.

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